Half a billion-dollar catalytic converters theft ring busted 9 states

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  Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said, “Amidst a rise in catalytic converter thefts across the country, the Justice Department has today carried out an operation arresting 21 defendants and executing 32 search warrants in a nationwide takedown of a multimillion-dollar catalytic converter theft network. We will continue to work alongside our state and local partners to disrupt criminal conspiracies like this one that targets the American people.”

The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma issued a statement claiming the United States is seeking forfeiture of over $545 million connected to the case.

What are catalytic converters?

Catalytic converters are part of every car’s exhaust system since the mid-1970s. They convert engine-exhaust pollutants into carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor which are less harmful to the environment. The conversion process depends on three metals (platinum, palladium, and rhodium). The prices of all three have skyrocketed.

Catalytic converters are typically the size of a loaf of bread. They are connected to the exhaust system between the muffler and the engine. And can easily be cut directly out from under a car by thieves.